Year of Mercy

by Sr. Juliemarie McDonald, SND on 06/10/2016

in Ordinary Time

“He said to her, your sins are forgiven.” (Lk 7: 48)

            “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Lk 7: 50)

Year of Mercy

By Sr. Juliemarie McDonald, SND

The Year of Mercy will close on November 20, 2016. It began on December 8, 2015. Have I been aware of the power of this virtue? Have I practiced this virtue on a daily basis? Do I know the difference between mercy and forgiveness or are the virtues the same? There is a wonderful reflection by Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SSC entitled Mercy and Forgiveness. My own reflection on her article birthed this week’s poem. After Sister and her staff members returned from a park and waited at the elevator, Sister called out to the waiting staff. “What is the difference between mercy and forgiveness? The question challenged her co-workers. After the elevator stopped and took them to their offices, a “newbie” stayed behind and answered the difference so succinctly. “Forgiveness is an episode; mercy is a stance.” How clear!


Is an event that occurs; such as:

  • Hurtful speech and action,
  • Telling lies about another,
  • Disregarding God’s law.

All that is necessary is a short prayer.  “Dear Father in heaven, with all my heart, I ask your forgiveness.” An apology to the person whom you have hurt calls for discernment.


Is a stance; such as:

  • Firm principle,
  • Distinguishing truth from untruths as a model,
  • An upright strong position.

A couple other staff members also suggested the difference between forgiveness and mercy.

“Mercy is an attribute of God.” “Mercy IS, while forgiveness DOES.”    

  1. If we are made in the image of God, are we not like Jesus, the face of God?
  2. Why is it so hard to forgive or to be merciful?
  3. Why is discernment needed in some circumstances?
  4. Name some of the principles you hold on forgiveness and mercy.
  5. Whom is it that you can’t forgive?
  6. Who might help you through this process?


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